In a career that spans 25 years, Michael Card has recorded over 20 albums, authored or co-authored over 14 books, hosted two radio programs, and written for a wide range of magazines. While he has penned such favorites as "El Shaddai," "Love Crucified Arose," and "Emmanuel," he never imagined selling more than 4 million albums or writing over 19 #1 hits. The popularity of his work seemed a stark contrast to his goal in life, to simply, and quietly teach the Bible.
Although music provided him the opportunity to share insights gained through extensive research, writing songs alone limited what he felt called to share. Card would frequently agonize over having to condense the vast depth and richness of scripture into a three-minute song. And so he fell, quite naturally, into the field of book writing where he has garnered numerous awards.
As Card continued on his quest to teach the Bible, he was encouraged to follow his dream of hosting a radio program entitled Joy in the Journey. Today it continues as In the Studio with Michael Card and is broadcast on the Moody Radio Network. The structure of each show is based on Card's three passions: community, creativity and commentary. Card believes that it is out of community the gospel really comes to life.
Never one to compartmentalize his spiritual life, Card's quest for community slowly seeped into his professional life as he began to write articles and books on topics that captured his imagination through conversations with Bible teachers, friends and contemporaries in both Christian music and the academic community.
Brennan Manning, Dr. Calvin Seerveld, Dr. Larry Crabb, Kirk Whalum, Dr. George Guthrie, Don Wyrtzen, J.I. Packer and the late Dr. William Lane Â from people known for their academic biblical contributions to Grammy-award winning musicians, Card is the first to note what an amazing community of friends and contemporaries he has had the opportunity to learn from and grow with both personally and professionally throughout his career.
"Thomas Merton said, 'The least of learning is done in the classroom,' and heâ€™s so right," says Card. "The bulk of what I've learned whether academically, musically or personally is through interacting with other people, which is why I think community is so important to our growth as Christians."
In everything he does, Card seeks to encourage his audience to join him in his own journey to know and be known by God by asking questions and entering into meaningful discussion with one another. Card's vision is to edify the body of Christ around the world by sharing experiences and resources in the context of community in order to help facilitate the growth of smaller and more intimate communities within his audience's own churches and neighborhoods.
To that end, Card has branched out beyond the music which made his name known within the Christian community into the various mediums he uses today; another reason why Card sees the importance of continuing to teach at conference centers like Glen Eyrie, Columbia Bible College, Maranatha Bible College and even on a regular basis at his home church.
"It's odd to hear someone say that they would rather hear me teach than sing," says Card, "but thanks to events like the ones at Glen Eyrie, I don't have to pick one over the other; I get to do both Â and it's a privilege that I am very thankful for."
It is this combination of writing, music and speaking that creates the perfect environment for the community Card hopes to achieve and something he hopes to continue with the project he is currently working on, a book on biblical lament, which he plans to expound on through both a musical project as well as a series of speaking engagements. Articles appearing in Discipleship Journal, In Touch Magazine and The Banner throughout 2004 will culminate in the release of a book on the subject in 2005, which will be published by NavPress.
Card's newly forged relationship with NavPress will also allow him to pursue a long time interest of his, fiction. An opportunity he is very excited about. "Fiction books like Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Alexander Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo and even The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas lead readers on an adventure that brings to life the themes of hope and redemption that are at the core of our Christian belief," says Card. "Both NavPress and I hope that biblical fiction will open doors to a whole new audience who will hopefully be inspired to search the Scriptures for the basis of the topics I plan to write about."
Whether it's through his writing, concerts, teaching or his radio program, the core of what binds these seemingly diverse endeavors together is biblical community. It is at the heart of everything Michael Card does.
"The one thing we strive to achieve is to reach people where they are," explains Card. "Someone who is impacted by music may not be affected by reading a book, someone who loves reading might not care about talk radio, but by providing all of these things, whether it's my work or the work of someone else, there's a greater chance of reaching more people, who in turn will reach out to others in their own community."
In light of a new year and a renewed focus on ministry, Card will continue doing what he loves to do; dig deep into the Word, ask questions and invite others to join him on his journey of knowing God and His Word.